Important: We have recently been made aware that various private Building Control Companies have been unable to continue operating as Approved Inspectors. If you are affected, find out what this means for you.
Development in conservation areas
- Planning permission in conservation areas
- Works that need planning permission
- Article 4 Directions
- Design guidance for conservation areas
- Energy efficiency in conservation areas
- Pre-application advice
In a conservation area, local authorities must take in to account the need to preserve or enhance the area’s special character when deciding whether to grant planning permission. Applications are considered against conservation policies and can be refused on conservation grounds alone. Proposals that would alter the character of buildings which make a positive contribution to the character of the area are unlikely to be permitted, as are proposals that would damage the character of the area as a whole.
In Conservation Areas, in addition to the usual requirements for planning permission, some permitted development rights are restricted. This means that planning permission is needed for some changes that would usually be considered 'permitted development'. Some conservation areas are protected by Article 4 directions which further restrict permitted development rights. More information which works need planning permission can be found at The Planning Portal (external link).
Haringey’s conservation policies are part of the Haringey Local Plan. SP12 of the Strategic Policies sets out the council’s intention to ‘ensure the conservation of the historic significance of Haringey’s heritage assets, their setting, and the wider historic environment.’ Haringey’s emerging Development Management DPD has further detailed policies on design and conservation.
In addition to the above policies there is specific guidance relating to some of the conservation areas in the form of Conservation Area Appraisals (which describe the special character of the area) and Management Plans (which set out design guidelines and council strategies to preserve or enhance the special character). These can be found on the List of conservation areas page.
Certain works, including some extensions and alterations to houses, are classed as "permitted development." Planning permission is not normally needed for these works. In conservation areas however, planning permission is required for some changes that would normally be classed as permitted development.
In a conservation area, you would need permission for:
- The total or substantial demolition of an unlisted building with a cubic content of more than 115 cubic metres (measured externally)
- Demolition of a gate, wall, fence or other means of enclosure which is higher than 1 metre if abutting a highway, or higher than 2 metres otherwise
It is an offence to carry out such demolition without planning permission.
Alterations to houses
The following refers to works carried out to a house. It does not apply to flats or houses that have been converted to flats. In a conservation area, you would need permission for:
- Single storey extensions that extend more than 3 metres beyond the back wall of the house (or 4 metres in the case of a detached house)
- Extensions at the back of a house with more than one storey
- Any extensions at the side of a house
- Additions, alterations or extensions to roofs
- Cladding any part of the house with stone, render, timber, tiles, or another material
- The construction of buildings (e.g. sheds) containers (e.g. tanks) or enclosures (e.g. swimming pools) within the grounds of a house, between the side of the house and the boundary
- The installation of chimneys, flues or vents on the main (front) elevation of a house, or on a side elevation fronting a highway
- The installation of satellite dishes or antennae on a chimney, wall or roof slope where it is visible from a highway, or on a building that is taller than 15m
- Installation of roof lights or solar panels that would protrude more than 150mm from the roof slope.
- The installation of solar panels on a wall which fronts a highway
Alterations to windows and doors, and painting the outside of a house do not require planning permission unless there is an Article 4 Direction in place, provided that materials and appearance area similar to those of the original construction.
Flats do not have any permitted development rights so permission is required for all works that are not like-for-like replacements or that might change the appearance of the building. This includes changes to the windows.
Changes of use and temporary uses
In a conservation area, you would need permission for:
- Change of use from shops (A1) or financial or professional services (A2) to use as a dwelling house (C3).
- Change of use from shops (A1) or financial or professional services (A2) to assembly and leisure (D2), for example use as a cinema.
Non-domestic extensions and alterations
In the case of non-residential development within a conservation area, you would need permission for:
- Extensions in materials that would not have a similar appearance to that of the original building
- Extensions or additional buildings above a certain size, or (in the case of a shop) within 2 metres of the boundary
- Alterations to existing shops or offices
- The erection of collection facilities or modifications to loading bays within the boundary of a shop
- Developments at waste management facilities
An Article 4 Direction allows local authorities to restrict permitted development rights in certain areas. These directions can control small-scale change that might gradually erode the character of a conservation area, such as alterations to windows and doors. Where an Article 4 Direction applies, planning permission is required for the specified works.
There are four Conservation Areas covered by Article 4 Directions in Haringey.
See the documents below for details of Article 4 Directions in Haringey:
- Noel Park Article 4 Direction (PDF, 130KB)
- Peabody Cottages Article 4 Direction (PDF, 269KB)
- Rookfield Estate Article 4 Direction (PDF, 271KB)
- Tower Gardens Article 4 Direction (PDF, 148KB)
There is further advice and guidance available for those intending to carry out works in a conservation area. Historic England (external link) and the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (external link) provide advice for homeowners, builders and professionals.
Good design can enhance the character of an area and the council encourages the use of the historic environment as a basis for good quality design and positive change. When considering altering or extending a building in a conservation area it's a good idea to consult an experienced architect. The Architect's Registration Board keep an official searchable register of Architects in the UK - The Architect's Register (external link). RIBA (external link) have more information about working with an architect, and RIBA Find an Architect (external link) allows you to search for local practices with conservation expertise.
Energy efficiency requirements for buildings are included in Building Regulations (Part L). However, buildings in a designated conservation area are exempt from these if ‘compliance would unacceptably alter their character and appearance’. None-the-less, it is preferable that traditionally constructed buildings are adapted to improve their energy performance and ensure their continued use in the future. Alterations for energy conservation should minimise disturbance to the existing fabric and be easily reversible.
Traditionally constructed buildings perform differently to modern ones. Their construction makes them more porous and naturally ventilated, so they ‘breathe’. They generally include softer materials such as lime based plasters and mortars which respond to air and moisture differently. Care should be taken that alterations do not harm the natural thermal behaviour of the building.
Repairing cracks and holes in construction is the first stage in improving the efficiency of older buildings. This can often be done at a relatively low cost with limited disruption, and doesn't require planning permission. Care should be taken to provide enough ventilation to control internally generated moisture.
The Council encourages loft, floor and internal wall insulation where these would not have an adverse effect on the fabric of the building. Works should avoid damaging the building by using existing voids and reversible techniques and detailing. The use of insulation materials which are compatible with traditional permeable construction (such as wool) will also minimise the risk of damage.
Planning consent would be required for external insulation applied to a building in a conservation area. It might be suitable on rendered, rear or less visible facades. Window frames, cill and lintel details, doors, frames, porches and architectural details would need to be appropriately reconstructed.
The conservation of traditional windows is very important in the context of heritage assets. Installation of secondary glazing is usually preferable to replacement: this can insulate effectively whilst also limiting draughts. Well designed secondary glazing units can be both discreet and reversible while the installation of double glazed units would usually require replacement of the whole window. New double glazed timber or high quality metal windows may be suitable where these match the original window details and do not result in unsuitably thick frames or glazing bars.
The installation of micro-generation technologies such as solar panels in conservation areas will be accommodated where possible, in ways which don't harm the historic environment. Historic fabric should not be disturbed or destroyed. Where possible, equipment should be installed in discreet locations where it will not affect the character and appearance of the historic environment.
Works to trees covered by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) are restricted. The ‘cutting down, topping, lopping, uprooting, wilful damage and wilful destruction’ of such trees without council permission is prohibited.
In a conservation area, trees that don't have a TPO are also protected. those intending to carry out works that would be prohibited if a TPO were in place must notify the council. This is called a Section 211 Notice. Six week's notice must be given, which gives the council time to enact a tree preservation order if it's considered necessary.
There are some exceptions. A section 211 notice is not required for;
- Works to a tree that is less than 75mm in diameter (measured 1.5 metres above ground level)
- The cutting down or uprooting of a tree that is less than 100mm in diameter, for the sole purpose of improving the growth of other trees
- Works to dead trees and branches; Five days notice is required for work on dead or dying trees. The removal of dead branches from a living tree is allowed without notice.
- Works on dangerous tree branches to remove a safety risk; These can be carried out without notice, with written notice given as soon as possible thereafter.
- Work to prevent a tree from causing damage (for example to buildings)
For further advice please contact the council’s Tree Officer in the Nature and Conservation team.
For advice on planning issues or if you are unsure if you need to apply for planning permission, please email: s-planningDTO@haringey.gov.uk. If you live in a conservation area, Design and Conservation Officers can provide you with pre-application advice about conservation issues. Please see the Pre-application Advice Services page for more information.